Investors take heart from European talks
THE market rose 1.7 per cent yesterday as investors clung to comments from French and German leaders that Greece's future was "in the euro zone" after talks with the debt-ridden country.
THE market rose 1.7 per cent yesterday as investors clung to comments from French and German leaders that Greece's future was "in the euro zone" after talks with the debt-ridden country.But local shares shed some of the earlier gains as the initial enthusiasm of buyers waned.MF Global's head of equity sales, Nick Burmester, said it was a trading day typical of recent months, where the market lost early gains as investors turned their focus from the US economy to the European debt crisis."Post-lunchtime people start thinking about European funding concerns . . . US data is out tonight and people have typically been selling, and focusing on that just before the close," he said.The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 65.9 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 4071.7.Mr Burmester said volumes were higher than usual because the September share price index futures contract expired yesterday.Turnover was 2.03 billion shares, changing hands for $6.44 billion, with about seven out of 10 stocks trading higher.On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract rose 83 points to 4099, with 15,401 contracts traded when it expired at noon.The December share price index futures contract rose 62 points to 4088 points, with 52,836 contracts traded.Gains were spread across almost every sector, with the exception of information technology stocks, which closed slightly lower.The energy sector closed the strongest, ending the day 2.7 per cent higher. Santos was up 27?, or 2.5 per cent, at $11.21. Woodside Petroleum rose 96?, or almost 3 per cent, to $33.21.The best-performing stock on the S&P/ASX 100 Index was iron ore producer Atlas Iron, which was up 20?, or 5.8 per cent, at $3.66. Hearing-aid maker Cochlear was the worst, falling $1, or 2 per cent, to $50.30.Rio Tinto gained 1.5 per cent to $69.38 after it said it would invest $US833 million ($A813 million) in infrastructure to help it increase iron ore production in the Pilbara. BHP Billiton rose 2 per cent to $37.63.Myer said it expected profit to fall by as much as 10 per cent this financial year, after more than doubling its full-year profit last year. It gained 4? to $2.10.Gold closed at $US1810.53 an ounce in Sydney, down $US11.26 from Wednesday.Gold stocks were mixed, with Australia's biggest goldminer, Newcrest Mining, down 64?, or 1.7 per cent, at $38.11. Kingsgate Consolidated fell 30?, or 3.7 per cent, to $7.83, while OceanaGold Corp gained 8?, or 3.1 per cent, to $2.64.